THE Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) has elected I. Chester Cooper, BAF Financial's president and chief executive, as its new chairman, and also chosen a new Board.
At its recent Annual General Meeting (AGM), the private sector body elected Robert Myers, of V Trade Supply, as its vice-chairman; Peter Goudie, of PGHJR Consulting, as secretary; and Hubert Edwards of the Bank of Bahamas as treasurer.
In his acceptance address, Mr Cooper said the Chamber in the Bahamas was celebrating more than 215 years of existence, and was built on the hard work of its many past presidents and members. He promised to honour their legacy by providing tangible value-added benefits to members and the business community.
Regarding the current political climate, Mr Cooper said: "As we observe the political debate, it is abundantly clear that the BCCEC, civil society and the academic community must lead the type of intelligent, bi-partisan debate on the issues that is desperately needed to contribute meaningfully to national development."
He told the meeting that "over the next several weeks, we will meet in a strategic planning forum to refine our plans for the year and beyond".
Mr Cooper identified several areas on which he intends to focus. Among these are the need to embrace the benefits of the merger with the Bahamas Employers Confederation (BECon) and bring it to its fullest fruition, a strong focus on business innovation and competitiveness, and tackling some of the weaknesses exposed in the World Bank's 'ease of doing business' in the Bahamas survey.
"We will work in an effective private-public partnership with whichever government is elected as a catalyst to the creation of a National Strategic Plan," Mr Cooper said.
He added that the Chamber Institute's focus on meeting the continued training needs of the business community will continue. Noting that 70 per cent of the Chamber's members are small and mid-sized companies (SMEs), he committed to developing and launching an SME Business Mentorship and SME Incubator Programme. He thanked the many benefactors and patrons of the chamber and vowed to make the BCCEC more entrepreneurial and financially self-sustaining.
In closing, Mr Cooper thanked and praised the outgoing Board for their accomplishments, and suggested that in the future he will ensure that the public is made more aware of the Chamber's achievements. The full list of elected officers and directors is:
Chester Cooper BAF Financial &
Robert Meyers VTrade Supply Vice
Peter Goudie PGHJR Consulting
Hubert Edwards Bank of the Bahamas
Brian Nutt Mosko Group
Michael Maura Arawak Port
Brent Dean Independent Business
Romauld Ferriera Ferriera & Company
Christian Sawyer Sunryse Shredding
Geoff Houston BTC
Stewart Steeves Nassau Airport
Janett Jackson ICWI
Ed Rahming Jr. KrysRahming and
Rosel Wilson-Moxey Sunshine Holdings